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traveldave

Wide Angle Options for Oly E-PL10 in AOI Housing

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Starting to work on setup and learning my new gear - Olympus E-PL10 with AOI housing before a trip to Fiji.  I suspect I'll mostly be shooting wide there and my original thought was to use my 9-18 lens with AOI DLP-04 semi-dome port.  After watching Backscatter's videos on the rig, I was thinking about switching to a wet lens.  They recommend the using the kit lens with the AOI UWL-09 PRO.  https://www.backscatter.com/AOI-UWL-09-PRO-Underwater-Wide-Angle-Conversion-Lens  That sounded great until I saw the cost.

Questions: 

Would a Fantasea Line UWL-04F ($450 vs about $1150 for the AOI) work on my housing (with the standard port that came with it)?   https://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/fantasea-uwl-04f-wide-angle-lens

Advantages or disadvantages compared to the UWL-09 PRO? 

Could I still use the bayonet mount that Backscatter sells for the AOI wet lens?  Would I need other accessories?

Other suggestions?

Thanks!

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You tend to get what you pay for, the UWL-04F is designed for compacts up to a 1" compact like the RX-100 and will suffer in the corners compared lenses designed for larger sensors.  Some you might like to look at include the UWL-09F which is similar to the 09Pro but uses a polycarbonate dome rather than the glass dome of the 09Pro and the INON UWL-H100 with the dome.  The INON lens is not a zoom through lens though.  Sample images of a good size can be found here:  https://www.housingcamera.com/blog/product-reviews/the-ultimate-wet-lens-sample-post

Look at the images from the APS_C Sony which will be more representative of performance on the m43 sensor than the 1" sensor images.

On bayonets I understand the the AOI/Fantasea bayonets on the lens side are custom for each lens they sell.  - The AOI and Fantasea lenses are the same product with different branding.

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Note that wet lenses with a polycarbonate front dome have a hard coating which is not really publishable if they get scratched. AOI can re-dome a wet lens and I've had this done with a UWL-400A, but it's not cheap. So a significant advantage to the "PRO" glass fronted wet lens.

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I was impressed as well from the pro lens sharpness but I could not afford the weight and cost so I decided to go with the inon 95.

Not impressed by the quality but might be my capabilities the real hinders. I gained the fov but not the sharpness I wanted. Anyway I was told that there are no compact alternatives.

 

 

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be49e9e59d1e002f58ca84b585723819.jpg

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If you know you are going to be only shooting wide angle take a look at the 8mm F3.5 Fisheye from Panasonic with the AOI DLP-06 dome port.  I really like this option.  I also go back and forth about getting the AOI DLP-04 semi-dome port for my 9-18 lens with but I don't think there is much of a benefit for using the 9-18 over the 8mm fisheye (maybe I'm wrong).

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43 minutes ago, Dann-Oh said:

If you know you are going to be only shooting wide angle take a look at the 8mm F3.5 Fisheye from Panasonic with the AOI DLP-06 dome port.  I really like this option.  I also go back and forth about getting the AOI DLP-04 semi-dome port for my 9-18 lens with but I don't think there is much of a benefit for using the 9-18 over the 8mm fisheye (maybe I'm wrong).

For dedicated wide, I suspect that's a fantastic option.  On the  9-18 I struggled with  the lettering on the front of the lens reflecting of the done port.  I finally resolved that by making a black sticker donut that I put on a filter (didn't want to do something directly to the lens).   This works, but the sticker creates a bit of vignette at  9mm so it's more like a 10mm now.  

551A7887-6B6B-4FDD-A601-E6826B064761.jpeg

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6 hours ago, traveldave said:

For dedicated wide, I suspect that's a fantastic option.  On the  9-18 I struggled with  the lettering on the front of the lens reflecting of the done port.  I finally resolved that by making a black sticker donut that I put on a filter (didn't want to do something directly to the lens).   This works, but the sticker creates a bit of vignette at  9mm so it's more like a 10mm now.  

551A7887-6B6B-4FDD-A601-E6826B064761.jpeg

I would love to see some of your photos with this lens.  I have it but I haven't pulled the trigger on the port, I keep going back and forth on it.  I have too much photography gear just sitting around from these kind of waffling purchases.

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Hello Traveldave,

There are certainly a few options that are great for the Olympus E-PL10 and most of them have been mentioned below.  The two main reasons we chose the AOI-UWL-09PRO were overall image sharpness and versatility.  

The sharpest option would be the Olympus 8mm or Panasonic 8mm fisheye lenses and the AOI dome.  This will give you a 180° field of view, but you are stuck at that FOV.  I like how close you can get with a fisheye and how forgiving the focus can be.  But you have to be on top of your subject.  So sharks, eagle rays, etc. can be hard to shoot with this lens.  Due to the nature of a fisheye lens, you can shoot at lower apertures than a rectilinear wide lens and still get sharper images.  Thus you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs for better overall images.  With fisheye, it is ƒ8 and be there.  Another thing that you really can only do with a fisheye lens is split-shots or over/unders.  Can't pull them off with a wet-mate lens, nor can you focus both above and below water at the same time with the Olympus 9-18mm lens.

The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a good alternative to the AOI UWL-09PRO, but you do not get the same coverage.  The Olympus 9-18mm lens will get you 100° to 63°.  Also, due to how dome optics work underwater, you have to shoot a high aperture to maintain corner sharpness.  You want to shoot ƒ16 (ƒ11 if there is no reef/details in the corners) to get any semblance of a sharp image.  This means that you will need to boost ISO or slower shutter speed for some shots.  But this is a better option for skittish large subjects, like sharks.

The AOI UWL-09PRO lens will give you 130° to ~108°.  So the narrowest this lens gets is where the Olympus 9-18mm lens starts.  Also, since this lens has been optimized for underwater, you can shoot lower apertures and still maintain a sharper image than the 9-18mm lens.  You can also take it off mid-dive and shoot tighter shots, or throw on a macro lens and get some macro in.  The only downsides to this lens are cost, size, size, and weight.  You have to get the float collar for it, and that just makes it bigger.  The AOI-UWL-09PRO has the best non-fisheye image sharpness and versatility, but it is costly and heavy.  

There are other versions of this lens, like the UWL-09 (not pro), but the image sharpness suffered significantly.  We never recommend this one because of how poorly the images came out.

The AOU UWL-04A or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens are another option.  Certainly cheaper than the UWL-09PRO, but the overall image quality is also not as good.  Since these lenses were designed for smaller sensor cameras, you do not get the same angle of coverage.  You will go down to 100° at the widest and it is not as sharp as the AOI UWL-09PRO.  That being said, it is sharper than the Olympus 9-18mm lens at the same apertures.  With either the AOI UWL-09PRO, AOI UWL-04A, or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens, you can add the AOI QRS bayonet system to them for easy removal underwater.  

The Fantasea UWL-04F has been discontinued from Fantasea, so we have not tested it with the Olympus E-PL10.  Knowing how they are made, it is optically identical to the AOI UWL-04A but does not have a QRS bayonet option.  The current version from Fantasea is the Fantasea UWL-400F or UWL400Q.  The Q includes the QRS mount, while the F includes the 52mm threaded mount.

A more inexpensive option is the Inon UWL-95 lens.  This is a non-dome option and can get you 95° on the wide side.  We have tested this and it does work, but there is no bayonet option for it.  We have tried all the different versions of the lens and all the bayonet options vignette at full wide.  A low-cost solution, sharper than most at that price, but not the sharpest and can only be threaded on.  You can add a dome unit to the Inon lens, increasing the FOV to 140°.  This would be the second sharpest option after the AOI UWL-09PRO lens.  The downside to the Inon UWL-95 is that it is also a heavy lens by itself.  A lot of glass with no air.  This makes it a sharper option, but heavier in water.  

When it comes to picking a lens, a lot of it comes down to what type of subjects are you looking to shoot, how close are you willing/can get to your subject and how sharp are you needing in your image?  If you would like to talk directly, please feel free to give us a call.  +1-831-645-1082

I hope this clarifies some of the options for you.

-Sean

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Have you considered the OLY 12-40 PRO?

 

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:22 PM, Backscatter said:

Hello Traveldave,

There are certainly a few options that are great for the Olympus E-PL10 and most of them have been mentioned below.  The two main reasons we chose the AOI-UWL-09PRO were overall image sharpness and versatility.  

The sharpest option would be the Olympus 8mm or Panasonic 8mm fisheye lenses and the AOI dome.  This will give you a 180° field of view, but you are stuck at that FOV.  I like how close you can get with a fisheye and how forgiving the focus can be.  But you have to be on top of your subject.  So sharks, eagle rays, etc. can be hard to shoot with this lens.  Due to the nature of a fisheye lens, you can shoot at lower apertures than a rectilinear wide lens and still get sharper images.  Thus you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs for better overall images.  With fisheye, it is ƒ8 and be there.  Another thing that you really can only do with a fisheye lens is split-shots or over/unders.  Can't pull them off with a wet-mate lens, nor can you focus both above and below water at the same time with the Olympus 9-18mm lens.

The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a good alternative to the AOI UWL-09PRO, but you do not get the same coverage.  The Olympus 9-18mm lens will get you 100° to 63°.  Also, due to how dome optics work underwater, you have to shoot a high aperture to maintain corner sharpness.  You want to shoot ƒ16 (ƒ11 if there is no reef/details in the corners) to get any semblance of a sharp image.  This means that you will need to boost ISO or slower shutter speed for some shots.  But this is a better option for skittish large subjects, like sharks.

The AOI UWL-09PRO lens will give you 130° to ~108°.  So the narrowest this lens gets is where the Olympus 9-18mm lens starts.  Also, since this lens has been optimized for underwater, you can shoot lower apertures and still maintain a sharper image than the 9-18mm lens.  You can also take it off mid-dive and shoot tighter shots, or throw on a macro lens and get some macro in.  The only downsides to this lens are cost, size, size, and weight.  You have to get the float collar for it, and that just makes it bigger.  The AOI-UWL-09PRO has the best non-fisheye image sharpness and versatility, but it is costly and heavy.  

There are other versions of this lens, like the UWL-09 (not pro), but the image sharpness suffered significantly.  We never recommend this one because of how poorly the images came out.

The AOU UWL-04A or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens are another option.  Certainly cheaper than the UWL-09PRO, but the overall image quality is also not as good.  Since these lenses were designed for smaller sensor cameras, you do not get the same angle of coverage.  You will go down to 100° at the widest and it is not as sharp as the AOI UWL-09PRO.  That being said, it is sharper than the Olympus 9-18mm lens at the same apertures.  With either the AOI UWL-09PRO, AOI UWL-04A, or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens, you can add the AOI QRS bayonet system to them for easy removal underwater.  

The Fantasea UWL-04F has been discontinued from Fantasea, so we have not tested it with the Olympus E-PL10.  Knowing how they are made, it is optically identical to the AOI UWL-04A but does not have a QRS bayonet option.  The current version from Fantasea is the Fantasea UWL-400F or UWL400Q.  The Q includes the QRS mount, while the F includes the 52mm threaded mount.

A more inexpensive option is the Inon UWL-95 lens.  This is a non-dome option and can get you 95° on the wide side.  We have tested this and it does work, but there is no bayonet option for it.  We have tried all the different versions of the lens and all the bayonet options vignette at full wide.  A low-cost solution, sharper than most at that price, but not the sharpest and can only be threaded on.  You can add a dome unit to the Inon lens, increasing the FOV to 140°.  This would be the second sharpest option after the AOI UWL-09PRO lens.  The downside to the Inon UWL-95 is that it is also a heavy lens by itself.  A lot of glass with no air.  This makes it a sharper option, but heavier in water.  

When it comes to picking a lens, a lot of it comes down to what type of subjects are you looking to shoot, how close are you willing/can get to your subject and how sharp are you needing in your image?  If you would like to talk directly, please feel free to give us a call.  +1-831-645-1082

I hope this clarifies some of the options for you.

-Sean

Thanks for the incredibly detailed response.  I think for Fiji I'm going to stick with the 9-18 with the semi-dome port.  Most of the rest of the rig is new to me (though I was shooting an E-PL3 before this, so it's not that foreign) and I think I don't need additional brain/task overload for this trip (especially since I'll be diving with my daughter the first week).   Next big trip that will need good wide capabilities is Socorro a year and a half from now, so that gives me time to think through. 

UWL-09PRO seems to have the best business case (and highest cost - especially with needed accessories).  One question - how do most people carry it around on the dive when it's not attached to the port?

 

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20 hours ago, PhotoJunkie said:

Have you considered the OLY 12-40 PRO?

 

I haven't.  How does this compare to the options Sean laid out?  Presumably would need a different port to use with the AOI housing?

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:16 PM, Dann-Oh said:

I would love to see some of your photos with this lens.  I have it but I haven't pulled the trigger on the port, I keep going back and forth on it.  I have too much photography gear just sitting around from these kind of waffling purchases.

Here are a few.  Some may be more of a reflection of the photographer's amateur nature than they are of the quality of the lens and port.

73495263_10223683513820108_8928431047368575124_n.jpg

78172058_10221471484000745_2456920012858851328_n.jpg

74394545_10221459094971027_402453949057073152_n.jpg

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Traveldave, I had the Zen 100 port for my 9-18, that and a 22mm extension just fits the 12-40, but with very miner vin. in the corners.  It is very sharp and focus is instant.

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14 hours ago, PhotoJunkie said:

Traveldave, I had the Zen 100 port for my 9-18, that and a 22mm extension just fits the 12-40, but with very miner vin. in the corners.  It is very sharp and focus is instant.

Are you sure you used the Oly 12-40 on the AOI housing?  AOI says that the 12-40 is too large of a diameter to fit the port opening.

 

The Zen 100 is for the Olympus housing which might have a different diameter port opening.

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I used the Zen 100 with an extension on  my OLY EM5 housing.  When I upgraded to an EM5iii I continued to use the Zen 100 with an extension and the focus gear fits with a little modification.

The "OLY" housings were made by AOI.  They all have the PEN mount, and you need the PEN/OMD adapter.  If you really need I could post a few shots of the 12-40 in place on the em5iii housing tomorrow.

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I mean I believe you but Im just confused, Il like to use the 12-40 underwater if it does fit but the internet searches (which never lie;-)) say it shouldn't fit.

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I mean I believe you but Im just confused, Il like to use the 12-40 underwater if it does fit but the internet searches (which never lie;-)) say it shouldn't fit.

The AOI housing for the EM5III he is using has a OMD port standard and not a PEN port standard. The OMD standard supports the 12-40mm. The OMD standard also has a PEN adapter so that you can use PEN ports on it.

The EPL10 has only the PEN port standard. So it does not support the 12-40mm.


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15 hours ago, Pomacentridae said:


The AOI housing for the EM5III he is using has a OMD port standard and not a PEN port standard. The OMD standard supports the 12-40mm. The OMD standard also has a PEN adapter so that you can use PEN ports on it.

The EPL10 has only the PEN port standard. So it does not support the 12-40mm.


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I Understand that.  How do you use the PEN adapter WITH the 12-40?

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On 5/6/2022 at 9:49 PM, Dann-Oh said:

I Understand that.  How do you use the PEN adapter WITH the 12-40?

That is something I am also trying to find out from AOI. They said they are making that PEN to OMD Port adapter and will be able to use the Pro lenses, this will work the UH-EM1iii housing. But aside from that, they don't have much news for me.

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:22 PM, Backscatter said:

Hello Traveldave,

There are certainly a few options that are great for the Olympus E-PL10 and most of them have been mentioned below.  The two main reasons we chose the AOI-UWL-09PRO were overall image sharpness and versatility.  

The sharpest option would be the Olympus 8mm or Panasonic 8mm fisheye lenses and the AOI dome.  This will give you a 180° field of view, but you are stuck at that FOV.  I like how close you can get with a fisheye and how forgiving the focus can be.  But you have to be on top of your subject.  So sharks, eagle rays, etc. can be hard to shoot with this lens.  Due to the nature of a fisheye lens, you can shoot at lower apertures than a rectilinear wide lens and still get sharper images.  Thus you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs for better overall images.  With fisheye, it is ƒ8 and be there.  Another thing that you really can only do with a fisheye lens is split-shots or over/unders.  Can't pull them off with a wet-mate lens, nor can you focus both above and below water at the same time with the Olympus 9-18mm lens.

The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a good alternative to the AOI UWL-09PRO, but you do not get the same coverage.  The Olympus 9-18mm lens will get you 100° to 63°.  Also, due to how dome optics work underwater, you have to shoot a high aperture to maintain corner sharpness.  You want to shoot ƒ16 (ƒ11 if there is no reef/details in the corners) to get any semblance of a sharp image.  This means that you will need to boost ISO or slower shutter speed for some shots.  But this is a better option for skittish large subjects, like sharks.

The AOI UWL-09PRO lens will give you 130° to ~108°.  So the narrowest this lens gets is where the Olympus 9-18mm lens starts.  Also, since this lens has been optimized for underwater, you can shoot lower apertures and still maintain a sharper image than the 9-18mm lens.  You can also take it off mid-dive and shoot tighter shots, or throw on a macro lens and get some macro in.  The only downsides to this lens are cost, size, size, and weight.  You have to get the float collar for it, and that just makes it bigger.  The AOI-UWL-09PRO has the best non-fisheye image sharpness and versatility, but it is costly and heavy.  

There are other versions of this lens, like the UWL-09 (not pro), but the image sharpness suffered significantly.  We never recommend this one because of how poorly the images came out.

The AOU UWL-04A or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens are another option.  Certainly cheaper than the UWL-09PRO, but the overall image quality is also not as good.  Since these lenses were designed for smaller sensor cameras, you do not get the same angle of coverage.  You will go down to 100° at the widest and it is not as sharp as the AOI UWL-09PRO.  That being said, it is sharper than the Olympus 9-18mm lens at the same apertures.  With either the AOI UWL-09PRO, AOI UWL-04A, or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens, you can add the AOI QRS bayonet system to them for easy removal underwater.  

The Fantasea UWL-04F has been discontinued from Fantasea, so we have not tested it with the Olympus E-PL10.  Knowing how they are made, it is optically identical to the AOI UWL-04A but does not have a QRS bayonet option.  The current version from Fantasea is the Fantasea UWL-400F or UWL400Q.  The Q includes the QRS mount, while the F includes the 52mm threaded mount.

A more inexpensive option is the Inon UWL-95 lens.  This is a non-dome option and can get you 95° on the wide side.  We have tested this and it does work, but there is no bayonet option for it.  We have tried all the different versions of the lens and all the bayonet options vignette at full wide.  A low-cost solution, sharper than most at that price, but not the sharpest and can only be threaded on.  You can add a dome unit to the Inon lens, increasing the FOV to 140°.  This would be the second sharpest option after the AOI UWL-09PRO lens.  The downside to the Inon UWL-95 is that it is also a heavy lens by itself.  A lot of glass with no air.  This makes it a sharper option, but heavier in water.  

When it comes to picking a lens, a lot of it comes down to what type of subjects are you looking to shoot, how close are you willing/can get to your subject and how sharp are you needing in your image?  If you would like to talk directly, please feel free to give us a call.  +1-831-645-1082

I hope this clarifies some of the options for you.

-Sean

Hey Sean - another recent recommendation was the Kraken KRL-01 67mm Wide Wet Lens.   How does that compare with the others you discussed? 

 

 

 

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